Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers, today I have the distinct pleasure of chatting with legendary actor William Forsythe. From working with Sean Connery on 'The Rock' to independent films such as 'The Devil's Rejects' and the upcoming 'Check Point', and a variety of high profile TV series, Forsythe has carved out an amazing body of work full of unique and interesting characters. Often truculent and unforgiving on screen, William is a kind-hearted soul off screen, and takes time out of his busy schedule to conduct this exclusive interview. Enough of my babbling, time to go in hard and heavy Forsythe style!
DMR-Chat about the changes in the audition process since when you just started out and the rise of new media like Netflix, changing the landscape for actors now.
WF-The whole game has changed, me, I am kind of a dinosaur, it is a change that I am not so crazy about. I feel the business as a whole, has become a lot more impersonal, as in send me a demo tape on your phone, and I don't own one of those phones. The entertainment world has be come a self serve place, such as emailing you a script and expecting you to print it out The business is somewhat less efficient. It has taken away a little bit of the edge of the industry.
WF-As far as Netflix and those services, the product they are putting out is phenomenal, I went and did the guest star last year on Daredevil, which was a great time. I also did a guest promo spot for Netflix, which was great. They were gracious wonderful people, and the series and things they are putting out are absolutely top notch.
DMR-Have you watched Daredevil series? Thoughts?
WF-It is excellent, I had seen a few episodes prior to being cast, but I did catch up to it before I went on it. The main reason I caught up to it was Charlie (Cox). Charlie and I were friends when we did 'Boardwalk Empire'. I know Charlie, Vincent (D'Onofrio), it is great to see such a top notch show. You go in and do one episode, you never know how it is going to be, but the people (on Daredevil) were great so I had a great time.
DMR-It is nice to see Netflix put out great programming, what are your thoughts, on new media in general?
WF-I think the world is in a transitional phase when it comes to media and computer streaming, we are an experimental generation.
DMR-Changing the discussion to a couple of past projects, chat about your role as Sheriff Wydell in 'The Devils Rejects'.
WF-We were in the worse locations it was hot, we were out in this god awful desert, but the experience was phenomenal, great family, great group of people, Rob (Zombie) is a really strong director. At a time when it comes to yes or no, Rob is really strong and a lot of fun, and he puts a lot of trust in his people, I had a blast doing it, and it doesn't surprise me that people are still talking about the movie, because it was an unusual and different kind of film, and I loved working on it. Rob let me go, I told him in the Elvis scene scene Rob, The guy is knocking Elvis, I am not going to put up with that and he told me "Do whatever you want to do." So if you ever see that film again and look at the film critic's face he has no idea where I am going. When I stood up and threw him, the look of shock on his face. To this day I laugh about that. I think the Devil's Rejects is the greatest film Rob made, I hope he gets back to that kind of material it just kicks ass on so many levels!
DMR-Another fantastic older project, chat about working with Sean Connery in 'The Rock'
WF-That was a highlight for me, I always followed Sean Connery, I grew up with James Bond, he has such a passion. When I got to cross swords with him on ('The Rock') I was so happy. To be honest with you I took a couple of chances and I did some things, like I cracked Sean in the back of the head as I went by him, and I did do things where he could of just turned around and said "If you touch me again" instead you see this gleam in his eyes, you see this great actor. I also said “why don't you help us while you have little left...”, once again I ad libbed that, it is phenomenal just to see where he went with it. I had a great time, moments like that are dreams come true, to work with someone like Sean, to have a real quality piece of footage. I am not usually a big fan of huge action movies, but that film had some of the best cast that had ever participated in any film in history.
DMR-Going forward in time to more recent projects, chat about 'Check Point'. The film has a very serious topic of homegrown terrorism, I feel the concept is not really a fantasy, but a slowly evolving reality. I am curious of your thoughts on the topic of homegrown terrorism.
WF-I don't think it is anything like we are experiencing now, but at the same time, you see violence throughout the world, you see no one can have a conversation any more without it turning into an argument. There was a time when people could sit down and strum though it and figure something out. I think that portion of ('Check Point') is very realistic. I said to Tom (Thomas J Churchill director of 'Check Point'), If you dig a tunnel, you would send the tunnel south? Would not the tunnel have come out in Massachusetts somewhere, haha? You buy into the ideas as it is an entertainment film. Discussing the actual time we live in, I hate the way the world is full of terror, I feel bad for the young kids. I traveled all over Europe as a youngster, and now all the places I used to go are the targets.
DMR-Focusing in on 'Check Point', do you have any behind the scenes production stories, interesting tidbits you can share?
WF-Fred (Williamson) and I laughed our heads off, all the time, we laughed constantly on the set, they had Fred and I in a trailer, we were have a great time. Movies are not so easy to make, especially on a tight budget, there is varying levels of experience, so the comradery and being able to laugh and have a good time, and to be able to put forth a good product is really so important. I had the most fun with Fred, I love the actors, Kenny (Johnson), I love Kenny, he is a phenomenal actor, a genius, he really put it together. There was a moment when they were running out of time due to the budget where they were about to cut the scene, and we discussed it and it was re-shot properly. People do not realize you think it is OK. to walk away from something, but I know, if we do not get this right now we will all suffer later on. Everybody is friends, on ('Check Point') and I feel we were allowed to be honest with our feelings during the production of 'Check Point'.
DMR-Can you talk about your character what motivates him, is he driven by honor, revenge? How much of yourself do you see in him.
WF-I read the script and I got about 60 pages in and I said this is great me and Fred, and these guys are going to kick ass, things change when I get to page 63... (Ed Note- William revealed his character nature in the remainder of his answer, and will include film spoilers, I will add into the interview upon release of Check Point! Keep Reading for more!)
DMR-Thanks for the insight into 'Check Point', we will chat more about the film upon release, focusing on independent films in general, do you feel when you do smaller budget films you have a certain mindset going in that is separate from doing a big budget film. Do you change your method of acting?
WF-For me it stays the same, I won't compromise no matter what the budget is. If the budget is lower, you have to be more prepared, more together, you really have to reach inside. I am experienced in all levels of film, I will not step off, it is so easy for people to turn around just say oh OK just go with that and make it happen. I hate it when that happens, I just say park your ass somewhere else if that is your attitude. Everyone needs to do their best, the job is the same job, regardless. I love independent film, I have always loved independent film.
DMR-I agree no matter what it is a proper standard to uphold. Chat about 'The Bronx Bull', new film that just came out, with you as Jake LaMotta.
WF-With that film I feel we shot a really good movie, it was two years ago we shot it, I am actually going to a screening of it that will benefit the National Guard, in St Augustine. I have known Jake, and he was the only person I cared about. they gave me 67 days to prepare and get into the ring, I joked if I was 27 they would have given me 120 days. I had my fight trainer, Steve Fleming (The Bronx Bull fight Choreographer). He is a friend of mine, he literally moved in with me and we were at it 8 hours a day. We studied Jake, and we talked about his fighting style, and the fight game as well. I am looking forward to the premiere, and hope it is successful, as I know the original film('Raging Bull') is a lot to live up to.
DMR-William thanks for taking time to conduct this interview for Dan's Movie Report. One final question, any advice for the younger generation of actors, advice you know now you wish you knew when you were starting out?
WF-We all grow. I learned to fight for the things I believe in. I have learned a lot more about humanity I have learned now no matter how many years you have been in film you need to reach inside to always respect yourself, refine yourself, never run out of the dramatic feeling and ideas, and never stop growing.
Special thanks to Samera Entertainment, Jelly Magazine, and Michelle C. Lee for their help in obtaining this amazing interview. Keep reading Dan's Movie Report, don't share the news, make your own! Watch for more 'Check Point' Exclusives later in 2016!
For more information on 'Check Point' point your browsers to http://www.checkpointthemovie.com/